Little Richard Remembered by Ringo Starr, Gene Simmons, Mick Jagger: ‘A Founding Father of Rock ‘n’ Roll’

Legendary singer died Saturday at age 87

Last Updated: May 9, 2020 @ 12:01 PM

Rock ‘n’ roll pioneer Little Richard was mourned by fellow artists Ringo Starr, Spike Lee, Mick Jagger and Gene Simmons, who called him “a founding Father of Rock And Roll.”

“Sadly, Little Richard passed away today. A founding Father of Rock And Roll, his contributions simply can’t be overstated. I had the honor of meeting Richard in his later years and was awed by his presence. He told me, ‘I am the architect of Rock And Roll.’ Amen! ..Rest In Peace,” Simmons wrote on Twitter.

“The Originator. The innovator. The musician, performer who influenced generations of artists….has left,” Viola Davis posted. “You were AWESOME #LittleRichard!!! Your talent will reverberate forever. Well done sir. Rest well.”

Little Richard, the dynamic singer and pianist with the boundary-pushing personality, died Saturday at age 87. The artist’s son, Danny Penniman, confirmed the death to Rolling Stone. The cause of death was not immediately known.

His first big hit, 1955’s “Tutti Frutti,” was one of the first songs by a black artist to cross over to the pop charts — and help set the stage for a career that would influence a wide range of genres from rock to soul to funk. Artists as varied as Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Prince all credited Richard as an influence.

In the mid-’50s, Richard produced a series of hit songs like “Long Tall Sally,” “Rip It Up,” “Keep a Knockin’,” “Good Golly Miss Molly” and “Lucille” that got a boost from his frenetic piano playing and raspy singing voice. He also gained fame — and occasional criticism — for high high-energy performing style and often androgynous appearance. He sold more than 30 million records worldwide, according to the Associated Press.

See the tributes below.